Emmys: 'Catastrophe' Stars Break Down "How Did My Vagina Feel?" Scene
Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, creators and stars of the Amazon comedy series, reveal the backstory on dialogue they wrote for their TMI duo in the pilot.
Of the two new comedy series nominees in the writing category — the other being Master of None, which joins Veep and Silicon Valley — Catastrophe creators Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney have a slightly unorthodox process: they comprise the entire writers room, but that's only when they're actually in the same time zone when they work (Horgan is U.K.-based while Delaney is from the U.S.). Oh, and they also star as the newly married couple, named — you guessed it — Sharon and Rob, at the heart of the Amazon series. Horgan took a break from her otherwise stacked schedule (she also is behind the upcoming HBO comedy Divorce, which stars Sarah Jessica Parker) to offer insight into the last scene of their nominated pilot script.
1. "We had a running joke about Sharon's fat, pregnant ankles in this episode," says Horgan. "The plan was always to have a pair of chunky, water-retaining legs resting on either side of Rob's face as he pumps away. That's easier than it sounds. We had to get a very nice lady with rather big legs to lie under Rob while he grabbed her ankles. We ended up feeling kind of bad because she was there for that reason and that reason alone. But she seemed to have a nice time. And we've all stayed in touch. Not really. Oh, and I ad-libbed, 'Hurry up, I'm not gonna come!' as the cherry on top of a very beautiful moment."
2. "Another recurring joke in this episode, and the series, is that Rob has a rather large head. We would try and work it in whenever possible. The very idea of procreating with Rob is off-putting for most people mainly because he's technically a giant and you may not make it out of childbirth alive were you to carry his child to term. So we felt that for Sharon, this would be an issue. But, also, we love this kind of dialogue because the thing we found the most fun to write was their gallows humor and the fact that they would say awful things to make each other laugh. We spend a lot of time in our writers room — which comprises just the two of us — saying awful things to make each other laugh."
3. "This is maybe our best example in the pilot of Rob's cheerful optimism and Sharon's dogged pessimism [about fears she may be facing cancer]. Our plan was to turn the male/female stereotype on its head a bit. In an unplanned pregnancy scenario on TV or film, you're usually dealt a frightened, immature male who can't cope and a sensible female who carves a way for them to make the best of it. We didn't want to do that. We wanted the majority of the fear to come from Sharon and the 'let's make the best of it' to come from Rob. It's served us well, but usually having finished an episode we do a 'nice' pass on Sharon and an 'asshole' pass on Rob."
This story first appeared in the Aug. 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.